Tag Archives: online payment

AdRotate Pro and advertisers

logo-512x512Over the past week I’ve been working on a big new feature – Or a bunch of features. We may even bump the version to version 4.0… How about that? The new stuff is focused on managing advertisers and expand on the possibilities there. I’ve included a few draft screenshots so you can make up your mind about it and chime in with ideas or comments. If you have any, comment below or use the contact form 🙂 thanks!

Some screenshots

Remember, these are drafts and can change – Though I’m fairly confident this will be the final format (mostly). Basically what you see there is a new menu, the advertiser overview and a profile.
The profile bit will be tied in to the normal WP users stuff. And that allows us to set permissions/options per user instead of the global switch you have now. This basically allows for a greater level of control.

adrotate-advertiser-menu adrotate-advertiser-dash adrotate-advertiser-profile adrotate-advertiser-adduser

Payment options

I’m a bit scared to add a Paypal API. Their stuff is quite complex and I have zero experience with their services API 🙁 I do know how certain other payment systems work (Merchant E-Solutions and Omnikassa) and I sell plugins for those. But Paypal is something different – And I can’t rely on WooCommerce this time…
So maybe adding payment options has to wait till a later iteration. But the basics are taking shape just fine. Manual payments can be replaced by automated ones in a future version if I don’t feel comfortable with Paypal just yet.

I’m currently not considering other payment options. Adding other payment gateways will please only a few. I can support Stripe, but then people want Braintree (or whatever). If I support both the system gets more bloated with every line of code. So far pretty much everyone requested Paypal support. For now it’s not worth it to spend a lot of time to integrate multiple systems.

The feeling of dread when creditcards are used

You know something is very wrong with the world when you’re not at all pleased to see someone use a creditcard on your site to buy something. Sure you appreciate the sale, but you just know there is a huge chance it’s going to end up in a dispute or chargeback because the card was stolen.

This has been the case for me pretty much every time someone bought one of the more expensive licenses with a creditcard. The reversal rate on these sales is nearly 100%. Not because people keep changing their mind or are being dumb with their monthly statements. Nope, it’s because almost every purchase was done with a stolen credit card. It’s ridiculous. Lately I just roll my eyes, thinking “here we go again” whenever someone uses a credit card for the more expensive purchases.

A few days ago it nearly happened again. A single “buyer” trying more than 20 credit cards to pay for a € 299 license for AdRotate Pro. What a loser!

failing-creditcards

And right after I had dealt with that, 2 more idiots tried 2 and 4 cards each on a € 29 purchase. This month alone I noticed at least 5 people who are obviously using a stolen or fake card. And that’s just me, a small shop with only a few sales per day. Imagine the amounts of fraud committed on sites like Amazon or eBay. It’s insane.

Nobody cares

What’s worse, the banks don’t care! Nor do the payment processors. Because they’re of the opinion that you can’t catch the wrong doers. It’s easier for them to ignore it and issue a new card to the card holder. A non-recoverable loss for most businesses. Especially if they have already shipped items or made downloads available.

I’ve had a discussion with my credit card processor in december last year about reporting things to the Police or FBI or something. I’ve also had this talk with the bank I used during that time. They recommended not to do anything “because their system catches the false transactions”… Yea true, but the crook isn’t caught with that, just his false purchase.

Running a webshop I can provide enough leads to the authorities to trace and probably catch the crook. Every sale records things like IP addresses and sometimes legit email addresses.

For those selling physical goods (not me) a shipping address has to be provided. The crook goes there to collect “his” stuff. Be there waiting. Those selling software (like me) that use a license key you can see which website the software is used on this can then be used to grab the whois on a domain name which will (potentially) hold additional leads to the crook.

The actual truth is not that the thieves can’t be caught. It’s simply that nobody of note cares.
And in todays world of technology I don’t believe it’s all that hard, either. It just takes effort. An effort nobody with the right power will make. After-all, issuing a new card to the real card holder and ignoring the crime is so much easier and convenient.

I hate the credit card system. It’s flawed and the banks running it are ignorant.

How I increased revenue by an extra 5% this year

graph upIncreasing revenue isn’t always achieved by making a product better or keep innovating on it. You can also increase revenue by making it people easier to give you their money. Which is one of the things I have done over the past 6 months or so.
In the first half of this year, through last year, I had some issues finding a suitable Credit Card processor. In short, none of them would have me as a customer for various reasons – Mostly because my revenue was too low or because I was not in their area of operation.
This post outlines the past 15-18 months of me finding the right combination of checkout options.

Trying out payment options

At first I was sort of stuck with Paypal. Which in itself works fine. But checkout is a hassle with them. And it’s long, often slow and with that very easy to just give up and not get the product at all.

Later I added a new payment option called ‘Paypal Express (Digital Goods)’ so I could accept Credit Cards. This was a lot faster and worked fine. For those who understood the process. A weird popup would come up and if you clicked outside it or simply closed it the popup would disappear, cancelling the order. This was a disaster.

Somewhere in between I have experimented with the Click&Buy gateway, but that didn’t work at all and was more hassle than it’s worth. The signup process took a month and when they finally understood what I wanted none of their software worked with modern versions of PHP (on the server). In short, a unworthy failboat.

Then I discovered that my own bank offers a payment gateway as well. According to them this would be the ultimate solution to my Credit Card problem. It wasn’t, and after a while I just disabled the Credit Card option in it because it simply didn’t work for cards outside the Netherlands. Turned out their software processing payments was broken.

Then I professionalised the checkout process a bit by adding SSL (HTTPS) to the site. This ensures the buyers data and privacy is guaranteed. I also added the Stripe Payment Gateway with a on-site checkout option. So unlike Paypal where you’d leave my site, go to their checkout pages, then are sent back. You stay on my site for the entire process. Which is much more user-friendly, faster and transparent.
To further my fight against cancelled orders I removed the Paypal Express option and last month I also cancelled my own banks ‘solution’.
So now just standard Paypal, Stripe and Bank transfers remain as payment options.

Up your sales by minimising cancellations

I’ve introduced Stripe in July/August this year and look what happened to my cancellation rate for Q3 and Q4 (picture). Of-course the 4th quarter isn’t over yet. But the low number is a good indication. Compared to last year I’ve increased my revenue by approximately 5% just by reducing cancelled orders (Which translates to almost €4000 Euros). That’s on top of the normal growth, which will be about 10% at the end of this year, over last year.

payment-method-usage

If you look at the numbers you’ll see a fairly high cancellation rate in the first 2 quarters. 18.6% in the first quarter and 18.8% in the 2nd. The in the 3rd quarter Stripe gets added and the ‘problematic’ Paypal Express option gets removed at the same time.

Conclusion

So my conclusion basically is – People want easy checkout or they won’t buy at all.
That’s sort of a “duh” but not all that easily achieved apparently. While many Payment Processors provide good gateways (or functional ones) they are often not that user-friendly.
And a lot can be done to make this better and more ‘fluid’ or ‘smooth’ for the user.

If you run a well organised webshop you have sales numbers. Order stats and statuses. You should closely monitor your orders and failed orders. Try to figure out why they fail/get cancelled. Perhaps it’s not the buyer, but your site that needs a slap in the face.

Monitor, Optimise, Monetise!